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Partners in Progress: Youth/Young Adult Leaders for Systems Change. December 5, 2008. Bill East, Executive Director, NASDSE Christine Cashman , NASDSE Joe Davidson, Advocate Jennifer Kane , Nevada Dept of Education LeDerick Horne, Advocate.

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partners in progress youth young adult leaders for systems change

Partners in Progress: Youth/Young Adult Leaders for Systems Change

December 5, 2008

Bill East, Executive Director, NASDSE

Christine Cashman, NASDSE

Joe Davidson, Advocate

Jennifer Kane, Nevada Dept of Education

LeDerick Horne, Advocate

nasdse promoting a vision of meaningful youth involvement
NASDSE: Promoting a Vision of Meaningful Youth Involvement
  • NASDSE’s work supports state education agencies (SEAs) as change agents to promote and progress youth/young adult roles to participate in the decisions that affect their educational services, experiences and outcomes.
communities of practice sharing knowledge and practices
Communities of Practice: Sharing Knowledge and Practices

Communities of Practice (CoP)

“A group of people who share a concern, a set of problems or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their understanding and knowledge of this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.”

(Etienne Wenger, 2002)

idea partnership national cop on interagency transition
IDEA Partnership National CoP on Interagency Transition
  • Beginning in 2004, state and local agencies in several states joined together to form a CoP with a goal to improve interagency transition initiatives and promote the role of youth in this effort.
  • Currently, federal agencies, states and many national organizations are joined in the community, co-lead by NASDSE and CSAVR:
    • 13 states
    • 16 national organizations,
    • 7 technical assistance (TA) Centers; and
    • Federal Partners: Departments of Education (DOE), Transportation (DOT), Labor (DOL), and Justice (DOJ)
  • The CoP focuses on issues such as cross-agency outcomes, meaningful youth role, increasing accessible transportation employment and post-secondary opportunities.
focus of today s presentation
Focus of Today’s Presentation
  • Revisiting Youth Role
    • Reflection on Current Practice
    • Envisioning a new approach to engaging youth and young adults
  • Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit: A story of how one state advanced their approach to youth involvement
  • Youth Front and Center: Lessons from Across the Country
spectrum of attitudes 1
Spectrum of Attitudes1
  • Three approaches adults can take toward working with young people
    • Youth as Objects
      • Attitude – young people have little to contribute.
    • Youth as Recipients
      • Attitude – young people need to be guided through their participation in adult society
    • Youth as Partners
      • Attitude – the contributions of young people are critical, welcomed and valued.
  • Key question: have you experienced these attitudes?
    • We encourage you to look for these attitudes and strive to influence positive change

1 Lofquist, W.L. (Fall, 1989). “The Spectrum of Attitudes: Building a Theory of Youth Development.” New Designs for Youth Development. Tucson, AZ: Associates for Youth Development, Inc.

key terms differentiating key concepts
Key Terms Differentiating Key Concepts
  • Youth development
    • is a term used to broadly categorize activities, approaches, and programs that seek to build the capacity of youth with disabilities to engage in leadership activities
    • is both an academic and non-academic approach that takes into account the mental and physical well being of the whole youth
    • initiatives seek to provide youth with disabilities concrete skills to ensure they can participate in leadership activities
  • Youth involvement
    • is an essential component and strategy in the over all development of youth with disabilities
    • is defined as creating meaningful opportunities for youth with disabilities to participate in their communities and any institution that is charged with their well-being
    • It is important to note that all involvement is not necessarily meaningful youth involvement

Mooney, J and Horne, L. (2008). “Youth Leadership and Development Guide.” Wisconsin.

key terms differentiating key concepts8
Key Terms Differentiating Key Concepts
  • Meaningful youth involvement
    • is defined as youth with disabilities having true responsibility and shared decision-making in events that affect their lives
    • can range from self-directed IEPs to youth representation on important organizations or governing bodies
  • Youth leadership
    • empowering youth with the meaningful opportunities to effect change within their community and within any institutions or systems that concern them.
    • requires skill development in the form of communication, advocacy, and awareness
    • requires that institutions make a sustained commitment to creating meaningful leadership opportunities for youth

Mooney, J and Horne, L. (2008). “Youth Leadership and Development Guide.” Wisconsin.

a variety of youth roles
A Variety of Youth Roles
  • Planners
    • plan and implement projects
  • Trainers
    • young people who are properly trained and supported can train both youth and adults
  • Evaluators
    • assess program effectiveness by being involved in evaluation processes
  • Youth Summits
    • provides young people an opportunity to voice concerns and develop possible solutions

Mooney, J and Horne, L. (2008). “Youth Leadership and Development Guide.” Wisconsin.

a variety of youth roles10
A Variety of Youth Roles
  • Youth Advisory/Action Councils
    • work with existing organizations to ensure youth are involved in achieving the overall mission of the organization or project
  • Funders
    • young people involved in philanthropy or the raising and giving of money
  • Youth Governance/Youth on Boards
    • serve as full voting members on an organization’s board or governing structure
  • Policy Makers/Policy Advisors
    • advance policies that affect their own lives, govern an organization or community.

Mooney, J and Horne, L. (2008). “Youth Leadership and Development Guide.” Wisconsin.

key to success
Key To Success
  • For youth with disabilities to be fully included and empowered as equal members of society, social services systems, including schools, must develop the academic and non-academic capacities of youth with disabilities to be meaningfully involved in their lives, education and communities.
  • The key to empowering youth with disabilities is to develop a multi-faceted, inter-agency and inter-disciplinary approach to developing a youth’s skills, creating opportunity for meaningful involvement, and ultimately empowering youth with disabilities with leadership opportunities within institutions and their communities.

Mooney, J and Horne, L. (2008). “Youth Leadership and Development Guide.” Wisconsin.

promoting a meaningful role
Promoting A Meaningful Role
  • Adult ally role – supports the efforts of youth/young adults with disabilities by acting as advisors while promoting meaningful, active participation and leadership.
  • Adult allies must prepare youth to be involved
    • Youth-friendly language (key terms ahead of time, avoid acronyms)
    • Youth-friendly scheduling
    • Age-appropriate involvement
  • Not all youth are the same!
    • Avoid tokenism – choose targeted roles based on age, experience, location, disability, desire…etc.
promoting a meaningful role13
Promoting A Meaningful Role
  • Youth as leaders in their own lives with adults as allies
  • Leadership at all levels
    • Individual – involvement in IEP, self-advocacy skills
    • Local – involvement in school-wide leadership activities, school board activities, mentors to other youth
    • State – statewide transition planning stakeholder, state leadership programs, state boards, advisors to state policy
    • National – advisors, speakers/facilitators at national conferences, promote cross-state learning, national leadership activities
nevada student leadership transition summit the logic and the method
Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit: The Logic and the Method
  • Nevada created a statewide transition summit involving students and professionals to gather information for state systems change and to promote leadership.
    • Students and professionals were equal partners in the event.
      • Prepared students to participate as equal partners.
      • High school students committed to ongoing leadership to advise others in their schools and students who will mentor future classes.
    • Utilized successfully transitioned young adults as advisors, presenters and facilitators.
nevada student leadership transition summit

Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit

University of Nevada, Reno —

Joe Crowley Student Union

April 21, 2008

nevada student leadership transition summit16
Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit
  • Purpose –
    • To foster systems change by creating an understanding of how high school students with mild disabilities in the state of Nevada perceive the secondary transition system that is currently in place
    • To gain a sense of how the system is functioning at the present time, looking for positives that can be replicated as well as areas that might be improved to insure students’ successful attainment of postsecondary goals
    • To cultivate student leaders and supporting mentor teams (teachers/counselors) who will take the information back to their school sites to help facilitate systems change
  • Desired Outcome –
    • Systems change for Individual Transition Planning (ITP), guided by students’ stated needs and undertaking of leadership roles
nevada student leadership transition summit17
Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit
  • Participants included teams of high school students with mild disabilities, teachers and counselors representing each of the seventeen school districts across the state of Nevada (including one school per region in Clark County).
    • Approximately 100 high school students and 50 professionals
  • Successfully transitioned young adults provided a keynote presentation and facilitated sessions.
content overview
Content Overview
  • Young adults who have successfully transitioned reflected upon their experiences and shared motivational stories about lessons learned as they moved from high school to adult life.
  • Speakers and participants separated into teams to discuss the positives and negatives of the current ITP system, including where their needs are being met and where improvements might need to be made.
  • Teams brainstormed ways to transform the system to ensure students’ needs are met and postsecondary goals are successfully attained.
content overview19
Content Overview
  • The whole group session reconvened and teams shared findings and common themes.
  • Teams rotated through vendor presentations and gathered a mixed packet of leadership materials and postsecondary information to take with them back to their school sites.
  • The University of Nevada, Reno Campus offered a tour.
nevada student leadership transition summit20
Nevada Student Leadership Transition Summit
  • The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) covered all travel costs for the team members including transportation and meals (at per diem rates).
  • Partners included:
  • Nevada Interagency Transition Advisory Board (ITAB)
  • Nevada school districts
  • University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (UCED),
  • Nevada PEP (statewide parent training and information center)
  • Western Regional Resource Center
  • National Post-School Outcomes Center
  • National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center
  • National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
developing a team
Developing A Team
  • Composition of district teams:
    • One special education teacher
    • One guidance counselor (college-bound advisor, if possible)
    • Five 9th and 10th grade students who (1) have mild disabilities, (2) possess leadership skills, and (3) would be interested in playing a continued role with the team
developing a team22
Developing A Team
  • Selecting team members:
  • Districts determined a Summit liaison to communicate with the NDE.
  • The liaison worked with appropriate school and district personnel to:
    • to select the teacher/counselor team to attend
    • work with school-level personnel to hand-select students based on the criteria stated above (interest, goals, leadership potential, and willingness to make a multi-year commitment).
pre conference team preparation
Pre-Conference Team Preparation
  • Conference materials were distributed to district team professionals to review with students in preparation for the summit. Including:
    • Pre-summit lesson plans to educate students on key terms, build self-advocacy skills and promote team building exercises.
    • Information with clear expectations for team participation.
    • Conference pamphlet with an agenda, maps of the building and information about the guest motivational speakers.
lesson plan example lesson one the basics
Lesson Plan Example – Lesson One: The Basics
  • Team leaders:
    • Accessed copies of each student’s current IEP, including the Individual Transition Plan (ITP)
    • Introduced the Summit to students by explaining they were chosen as a leadership team to help the NDE determine the kinds of services, supports and connections students with IEPs need as they move from high school to the world beyond high school.
    • Provided students with a handout featuring student-friendly key terms” such as: accommodations, disability resource center, individualized education program (IEP), leadership, etc
    • Led facilitated brainstorming activities/discussion about leadership, transition, post-school options, self advocacy
lesson plan example lesson one the basics continued
Lesson Plan Example – Lesson One: The Basics (continued)
  • Students completed a “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Self-Advocacy Worksheet” Worksheet including the following items:
    • Who am I?
    • What will it take to accomplish my postsecondary goals?
    • When should I start self-advocating?
    • Where do I want to go in my future?
    • Why should I self-advocate?
    • How can I begin to self-advocate?
lesson plan example lesson two team building
Lesson Plan Example – Lesson Two: Team Building
  • Developing a sense of team before the trip
  • Team members engaged in activities such as:
    • Describing traits in their school mascot that exemplify the objectives of their newly formed transition leadership team.
    • Using initials from your team members, create an acronym or name for your team – select adjectives that describe the team – produce a banner
  • Review Lesson Plan 1 and Key Terms, discuss any additional questions.
  • 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast
  • 9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Welcome and introductions
  • 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Whole group session
    • Graduate speakers share motivational stories including insights on the transition process from the student perspective.
  • 10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Break
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Team session
    • Speakers and participants break into groups to discuss what needs are and are not currently being met and to brainstorm what the system needs to be and to do to make postsecondary goals happen
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Vendor presentations
  • 2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Whole group session reconvenes
    • Teams share ideas and look for common themes, wrap up and reflection
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Campus tour
keynote presentation
Keynote Presentation
  • Joe Davidson
  • LeDerick Horne
  • Carolyn Roman
team sessions
Team Sessions
  • Facilitated session by professionals and guest speakers
  • Data collected through discussion
    • Examples: post-school goals, kinds of skills students think they need to be successful, who they talk to about their goals and needs, information about college entrance requirements, additional information students would like to know more about, etc.
  • Teams developed key messages to share with the large group
vendor presentations
Vendor Presentations
  • Purpose –
    • To expose participants to the postsecondary options available and to improve their understanding of the requirements for a successful transition to the world beyond high school
  • Format –
    • Orientation to the organization including participant eligibility, entrance requirements, scholarship/fiscal resources available, disability resources, programs available and anything additional critical information followed by materials distribution and questions
vendor examples
Vendor Examples
  • University of Nevada, Reno – Disability Resource Center, and the Office for Prospective Students
    • 4 year university, presented accessing special education services at the post-secondary level
  • Nevada Career Information System (NCIS) -
    • presented a computer program that allows students to search information on everything from occupations, apprenticeships, wage information, job search tips, financial aid and scholarships, military, resumes and cover letters, education and training, assessments, schools within Nevada as well as nation-wide, etc. Students received a username and password.
  • Nevada Disability Advocacy & Law Center –
    • discussed transfer of rights at age 18
vendor examples32
Vendor Examples
  • Nevada PEP –
    • an advocacy group that works with parents and students who turn 18 - more information about self-advocacy, rights, and resources
  • People First –
    • a self-advocacy group housed on the UNR campus.
  • State of Nevada, Vocational Rehabilitation Division
  • Truckee Meadows Community College –
    • Community college offerings and disability resources (Urban setting)
  • Western Nevada Community College –
    • Community college offerings and disability resources (Rural setting)
vendor examples33
Vendor Examples
  • Great Basin College
    • 4 year college with branch campuses and satellite centers
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • 4 year university
  • Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association
    • Presented programs and possibilities along with disability resources
  • Western Nevada Community College
whole group session
Whole Group Session
  • Top beliefs held by students to reach their post-secondary goals:
    • Research Options
    • Advocate
    • Establish Goals
    • Increase Academic Skills
    • Make a Plan – Tools and Resources
    • Address Doubts and Fears
    • Increase Communication with Those Who Can Help
    • Schools Must Engage Students
    • Change Special Education Stigma
lessons learned and follow up
Lessons Learned and Follow-Up
  • There will be a Summit 2!
  • The Summit focused solely on state needs.
    • Surveys to be distributed before Summit 2 to establish student needs, separate survey for professionals
  • Allow the guest speakers to facilitate the breakout groups to keep the feeling of “equal partners” and give students more of a voice.
  • Provide a separate professional development session for adults.
why we love the nevada example
Why We Love The Nevada Example
  • Clearly demonstrated a different attitude toward youth
  • Youth were intentionally prepared to attend
  • Key resource persons from their local school districts were on the teams
  • Showed their understanding of the variety of youth roles
  • Demonstrated an understanding that youth were preparing for varied post-school environments
  • They valued youth as equal partners
  • Youth have clear roles in the follow-up
  • Youth will have a major voice in Summit 2
  • This design has the potential to truly create systems change
i m determined self determination project
I'M DETERMINED- Self-Determination Project
  • Developed and sponsored through The Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers
  • Focuses on  providing direct instruction, models and opportunities to practice self-determination skills beginning at the elementary level and continuing throughout the students’ educational experiences to empower students by helping them know their strengths and needs; how to set and achieve goals; and how to identify the supports that they need.  
dare to dream leadership conferences for students with disabilities
Dare to Dream: Leadership Conferences for Students with Disabilities
  • As a state-wide initiative, the New Jersey Department of Education has been hosting teen leadership conferences for students with disabilities.
  • The focus of the conferences is to address skills necessary to be successful in school and for transition to life after high school.
  • Students with disabilities present keynotes speeches, read poetry, and facilitate workshops for other students like themselves focusing on things such as improved self-awareness, advocacy skills, information to promote success and increased leadership skills and confidence.
project eye to eye
Project Eye-to-Eye
  • A national mentoring program that matches college and high school students with LD/ADHD, acting as tutors, role models and mentors, with elementary, middle, and high school students with LD/ADHD to empower these students and help them find success.
national youth leadership network
National Youth Leadership Network
  • Fosters the inclusion of young leaders with disabilities into all aspects of society at national, state and local levels.
  • Communicates about issues important to youth with disabilities and the policies and practices that affect their lives.
idea partnership cop on interagency transition focuses on youth role
IDEA Partnership CoP on Interagency Transition Focuses on Youth Role
  • Alabama
    • YAIT (Young Adults in Transition) Initiative
  • California
    • Long history of youth leadership initiatives and an extensive network of alumni that actively coach emerging leaders
  • Delaware
    • Youth role at state meeting, Student Leadership Advisory Council (SLAC)
  • New Hampshire
    • Cross-agency focus on meaningful youth involvement
idea partnership cop on interagency transition focuses on youth role43
IDEA Partnership CoP on Interagency Transition Focuses on Youth Role
  • Pennsylvania
    • Youth role in the state meeting, PYLN - Secondary Transition Toolkit: Developed BY Youth FOR Youth
  • Wisconsin
    • Youth Leadership and Development Workbook
  • Virginia
    • Youth role at state meeting, I’m Determined Project, Life for Me Project, Creating High Expectations Project

* DE, PA and VA working cross-state to promote youth role

in summary
In Summary
  • Examine attitudes toward youth engagement
  • Promote a variety of meaningful roles
  • Design state and local initiatives to truly engage youth as equal partners
  • Involve the agencies and community partners that will be critical in helping youth achieve their goals
  • Follow-up and continually deepen youth efforts for real systems change
where are the other great examples
Where are the other great examples?
  • Help us find good examples that model meaningful youth role.
  • Share your examples of systems change.
  • Help us showcase your state and local efforts.
  • Contact: Christine Cashman, NASDSE